Anywhere The Heart Goes – 2
Richard was playing tennis with another seminarian, James, while Maya and Simon were seated at the benches watching their kuya Ricky.
Since Richard took care of her a few days ago, Maya and her cousin Simon became closer to him. They tag along whenever they see their kuya Ricky. Ricky also enjoyed having the kids around.
Whenever he goes out to assist Father Santi as the priest visits various parishes, Ricky would always bring pasalubongs for the kids, be it candy, cookies, books or toys.
“Magaling na ba si kuya Ricky magplay ng tennis?” He asked them as he stopped to rest and drink water.
Maya immediately gave him the towel she was holding.
She wasn’t instructed to do so but little Maya took the initiative to watch over her kuya Richard’s water bottle and towel which he left on top of the table at the side of the tennis court.
He thanked the little girl for the towel then smiled at her.
“Hindi po kayo masyadong magaling Kuya Ricky. Mas magaling si Kuya James. Ang dami pong balls na pinulot ni Simon nung kayo po yun naghihit ng ball. ” Maya replied.
“O sabi na sa’yo bro mas magaling ako. Yun bata na ang nagsabi nyan.” James who already got used to seeing the kids around was actually amused that the two were so serious in watching them.
Maya even has a small notebook with her and she’s been listing the hits and misses of the players. Ricky was just laughing at the kids.
“Akala ko ba Maya kakampi ka ni Kuya Richard. Ikaw talaga!” He then ruffled Maya’s hair which annoyed the little girl and she gave him her sharp stare which made Ricky laugh all the more.
The other fire victims already returned to their barangay. The local government had provided the victims with housing materials which they used to build their houses again.
Teresita dela Rosa and the kids, however, were offered a permanent shelter in the seminary by Father Santi. Being a single mom, raising two very young kids, Father Santi was concerned on who gets to watch the kids when Teresita goes out to work. After the fire that happened, Father Santi took it upon himself to look after the welfare of Teresita and the kids. Being an employee of their seminary, Teresita dela Rosa is actually his responsibility.
Father Santi also gave scholarships to the kids and appealed to the nuns of the catholic school beside the seminary to accommodate Maya and Simon even when the classes have already started. The kids’ former school was the public school near their barangay which is a little bit far from the seminary and it will be inconvenient for Aling Teresita and the kids to still be going to the said public school.
“Maya kumusta ang school? Are you enjoying your new school?” Ricky sat in front of Maya who was answering her homework at the table by the garden.
“Yes po kuya Ricky. Mababait po yun mga classmates and teachers ko and may mga friends na din po ako. Si Simon din marami na rin friends.
“That’s good to hear. Study well okay and always be a good daughter to your mom.”
“Yes po. I want to get good grades po and when I finish school I will work hard para di na mahirapan si nanay.” The little girl said with conviction and her innocent face is filled with hopes and dreams.
“Very good Maya. Kuya Ricky will be very happy if you will do that. Alam ko rin na kayang kaya mo.”
“Oo naman po. Magaling ata to.”
He laughed, amused by this little girl who seemed to be so positive and who never fails to make him smile.
“Promise yan ha!”
“Oo naman po!”
Richard became busy with his classes as well as his missionary work. He was often assigned to assist the priests on remote barangays during his school break.
Since his parents were based in China and he had no other family left with him in the Philippines, the seminary and the various parishes where he is assigned as assistant to the priests became his home.
Three years had passed and Maya is now 11 years old and a grade 6 student. She’s been topping her classes and her aim was to be the class valedictorian because she knows that she would be given a full scholarship including allowance if she graduates as one.
She’s been so focused on her goal and her mother was so proud of her. Even Father Santi supported her and Simon in all their school needs. Like Maya, her cousin Simon was also excelling in school and also in basketball. He was a part of the kiddie varsity.
Richard Lim on the other hand, already finished his college degree in theology and will now be pursuing his further studies and his priesthood in one of the seminaries in Tagaytay where everyone goes to.
He will be leaving San Nicolas Seminary in a week’s time.
It will be sad for him for he practically grew up under Father Santi’s care. Almost everything he knows was taught by the loving priest.
Richard spent his elementary and high school at the catholic school where Maya and Simon also attended classes. He pursued his college degree at the seminary.
He could easily pursue a career out of priesthood but he made a promise to his late grandfather. He promised him that he will be a priest.
Richard grew up with his lolo who spent his entire life at the simple town of San Nicolas.
He was a Chinese merchant who married a local beauty and was blessed with a son, Roberto Lim.
Roberto Lim met Esmeralda at work. They got married and had Richard.
Both his parents needed to leave to work abroad and Richard was left with his grandfather. His lolo was the one who entrusted Richard to Father Santi.
“Kuya Ricky dadalaw po kayo palagi ha!” Maya said with a sad face.
“Hindi ko sure Maya kasi bawal na kaming masyadong lumabas doon but when we get to have our vacation, ikaw muna ang bibisitahin ko.”
“Promise yan ha! Mamaya hindi mo naman tutuparin.”
“Did I ever fail to keep my promises to you?”
“Hindi. Pero there’s always a first time. Baka yan ang unang promise na hindi mo tutuparin.” She countered.
“Kulit mo talaga. You could be a very good lawyer. Hindi ako mananalo sa’yo.” Richard joked.
“Bakit ba kasi hindi magpatayo so Father Santi ng school kaparehas ng school mo dito? Ang daming vacant lots di ba Kuya Ricky?”
“Sabihin mo kaya yan kay Father Santi.” Richard jokingly suggested.
“Ay ayoko nga Kuya Ricky. Isumbong pa ako nun kay Nanay. Mamaya nyan mabubusog na naman ako ng sermon ni Nanay. Grabe pa naman yun kung magsermon – mula umaga hanggang gabi. Dinaig pa yun pagsermon ni Father Santi sa mass.”
“Mas lagot ka if they hear what you’ve been saying.”
Both of them were laughing.
Then Maya again had the sad look on her face when their laughter died down.
“Pero seryoso Kuya Ricky, malulungkot ako kapag umals ka na. Wala na tuloy tutulong sa’kin sa Math assignments ko.”
“Ano ka ba! You can do very well on your own. Basta don’t forget your promise to get good grades and be the class valedictorian okay?”
“Oo naman po. Promise ko yan kay nanay, kay Father Santi at sa inyo kuya Ricky. Gagawin ko yan para sa inyong tatlo.”
“Maya do it for yourself. It’s good to make your nanay and kami ni Father Santi the reason why you want to achieve your goals but make yourself the main reason for wanting to go for it. It is for you not for us Maya.”
“Ang galing mo talaga kuya sa inspiring talks mo. Sigurado akong magiging magaling kang magbigay ng homily kapag pari ka na.”
“Naku binola mo pa ako. O sige na I have to go to my room na. May mga aasikasuhin pa ako.”
“Sige Kuya Ricky.”
She resumed studying her lessons when he left.